Port considers warehouse closure
Another 25 Sheppey jobs are at risk after the Port of Sheerness
announced it is considering closing part of its fresh produce
Workers were expected to learn about the proposals on Tuesday –
exactly a week before Christmas.
The future of one of the warehouses at the docks is under review
and a 90-day consultation with staff is taking place.
Warehouse Six is a fresh produce warehouse but not the only one
at the docks.
If it were to close, about 25 employees would be made
However, a spokesman for the port said the proposal is
subject to consultation and is not final.
The shake-up has come as a result of changes in the way fresh
produce is transported around the world, which has lead to a
serious decline on imports of fruit and vegetables coming into the
docks over the last eight years.
The port is geared towards conventional refrigerated vessels
whereas fruit and vegetables are increasingly moved around the
world in refrigerated containers.
In 2003/4 more than a million tonnes of fresh produce passed
through but this dropped to just 240,000 tonnes in 2010 – and fell
further last year.
The spokesman said the docks will continue to service its fresh
produce customers, which include key clients Essential, A1, Grapes
Direct and Chiquita.
There are also plans to increase other sections of the port,
including the import and export of vehicles and equipment, steel,
forest products, containers, handling special project cargo, and
using part for renewables operations. But it is not thought any of
this would create jobs.
A spokesman for operators Peel Ports added: “During the
consultation we will work with our representatives and employees to
identify what resources are required to support the business and
its customers for the future.
“Our priority is to plan our resources for the future and
utilise our existing staff as much as possible to minimise the risk
“We are currently talking to existing and potential customers,
subject to contracts being agreed and signed.
“We are looking at our port estate and evaluating how we can
best use our land berths and infrastructure in the future.”
The news comes just two weeks after we reported how more than 56
jobs are set to go at Queenborough-based Invicta Merchant Bar.
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